Belfast Telegraph

Mark Hughes: Tony Pulis called Ryan Shawcross a 'loser' in voicemail message

West Brom boss Tony Pulis called Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross a "loser" in a voicemail message following last weekend's Premier League clash between the clubs, Potters manager Mark Hughes has claimed.

Hughes says the defender, who was skipper under Pulis at Stoke for several years, received the message from his former boss on Monday.

That was two days on from Stoke's 1-0 defeat at The Hawthorns, and the day after Shawcross was quoted as saying "someone from West Brom's side must have been speaking to the papers" regarding the way news emerged of Saido Berahino's ban from earlier in the season.

Berahino, who joined Stoke from West Brom last month, came on as a substitute against his old club less than 48 hours after it emerged the striker had served an eight-week Football Association ban.

Hughes did not receive a handshake from Pulis at the end of last weekend's game, and he spoke out about his fellow Welshman on Friday ahead of Saturday's home match against Crystal Palace.

"We were annoyed with a number things," Hughes said. "I was annoyed with their manager ringing up Ryan on the Monday morning after the game and calling him a loser. I wasn't too happy with that.

"Any number of things surrounding the game were, in our view, unnecessary.

"There was a voicemail left, and I haven't heard it. But Ryan wasn't too pleased. He tried to ring back and didn't get any answer."

Around the same time as Hughes' press conference, Pulis was holding his own to preview Albion's trip to West Ham, and was asked about Shawcross' comments that were published on Sunday.

Pulis did not mention anything about having contacted the player and leaving a voicemail, but did say: "Ryan has tried to ring me since that (the quotes on Berahino) and I will get back to him."

It had been reported by the Daily Mail last week that Berahino was handed his suspension after testing positive for a recreational drug in September.

Pulis on Friday appeared to confirm for the first time that Berahino, who joined Stoke having not played first-team football since September 10, was banned over drug use.

The West Brom boss said: "The disappointing thing was Saido coming out - when he moved - and saying how disappointed he was that he never played, and then Hughes saying the same thing. And both of them knew that he had been suspended.

"That was most probably the thing that irked John Williams, our chairman, more than anything else. Because we were really honest.

"There was never, ever going to be a deal done with Stoke without this football club telling them that Saido had been caught taking drugs. Never."

Hughes had previously said Stoke were not told about Berahino's ban until they approached West Brom about it during negotiations while Albion are adamant they did everything properly.

West Brom could not be reached for comment when Press Association Sport tried to contact them on Friday night regarding Hughes' claims about the voicemail from Pulis.

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